//VHS graduate helps win JUCO World Championship Series

VHS graduate helps win JUCO World Championship Series

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OCALA, FL. – A 2022 Valdosta High School graduate helps College of Central Florida baseball team win the JUCO World Championship Series.


JD Smith, a 2022 Valdosta High graduate played for the College of Central Florida this spring as a right-handed pitcher. The College of Central Florida was ranked as the number-one team in the country for NJCAA Division 1 baseball. T Central Florida won the region, which would allow them a spot in the District Championship where they would face Florida Southwestern State College. Central Florida would defeat them 11-3 and 12-6 to clinch a spot in the Florida State Championship series on May 12, 13, and 14th in Lakeland, Florida. They would face and defeat NW Florida State 12-2, and Miami Dade College 6-0, to advance to the championship game where they would again face NW Florida State in the championship game. JD Smith started the championship game and would defeat the NW Florida State Raiders 7-2 and clinched a spot in the JUCO World Series Championship Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Central Florida would play Andrew College in game 1 of the world series, defeating them 12-0. In the next game, Central Florida was run-ruled by Weatherford College 14-6 and dropped to the losers bracket in the tournament. In the next game, CF would face Delgado Community College, where JD would start the game and go into the 3rd inning allowing no hits. However, due to a bleeding finger on his throwing hand, he was forced to leave the game. Central Florida would defeat Delgado 12-9 to stay alive in the tournament. They then faced Wabash Valley, where they would set the record for the longest game in JUCO history, playing 5 hours and 19 minutes in 12 innings. Wabash had the lead in the 9th inning with a score of 11-9. But the Pats bats came alive scoring 2 runs in the 9th inning to tie the game and force extra innings. They would then score 7 runs in the 12th inning to defeat Wabash 19-12, giving them their first loss of the tournament.

Central Florida would then face off with Weatherford College again in a game that would determine who played for the Nation Championship against Wabash Valley. CF would defeat Weatherford 14-13 by scoring the game-winning run by means of a bases-loaded walk in the 8th inning. Cam Schulke then took the mound and secured the final 3 outs in the 9th to advance CF to the championship game.

JD would then start the championship game against Wabash Valley only allowing 2 hits with 2 runs to a very high-powered offense. Central Florida went on to win the game 13-6 to clinch the JUCO World Series Championship. JD recorded 4 wins, no losses, and 1 save while at CF, striking out 27 batters in 34 innings.

JD Smith signing autographs for young fans.

While in Grand Junction, Colorado the teams signed autographs for fans and also supported the disabled with a Buddy Challenge game. JD was able to meet and develop a friendship with one of Central Florida’s biggest fans, Rich.

JD Smith with biggest fan Rich.